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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 18, 2020 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruf on the newshour tonight: the u.s. hunkers dto fightnemy. the spread of cod-19, closing the border to canada, as lawmakers move to provide nancial relief while the economic fallout worsens. then, the coming crisis. the u.s. medical community braces for the worst case scenario: a cascade of patients and a shortage of ho beds. plus: ♪ ♪om songs ofrt. on the healing power of music in a time of global fear. >> a virus is something that
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travels globally, it knows no borders, no walls, no boundaries. and music is something that actually looks into the inside and that also knows no boundaries. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major fundingwsor the pbs neur has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, e engine that connects us.
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>> fidelity investments. >> consumer cellular. >> american cruise lines. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions:
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>> this program was made possible by the corpation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to ur pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the coronavirus pandemic is hitting new highs, and lows, tonight. infections in the u.s. have jumped to 7,700 confirmed cases and 133 deaths. and, another wave of selling overwhelmed wall street, as the dow industrials fell 6%. meanwhile, president trump invoked new powers to address the crisis. we begin with this report from william brangham. it's always the toughest enemy, the invisible enemy, but we are going to defeathe invisible enemy. >> brangham: president trump,sc bing the fight against the coronavirus as "a war," announced new, sweeping measures to mobilize the country. defense productionct.king the
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>> brangham: the defense waoduction act was first enacted during the korea and it allows the government to force companies to sign contracts or fulfill orders deemed critical for national defense. thislso comes as public heal officials warned that the official count of confirmed infections wilshoot up dramatically in coming days. dr. deborah birx, who's helping coordinate the federal response, says thiecause much quicker viral testing is starting to roll out. >> we will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next four to five days. i know some of you will use that to raise an alarm that we e worse than italy because of our slope of our curve. >>edrangham: dr. birx also u young americans to follow c.d.c. and white house guidelines and avoid lae gatherings-- like here on miami beach today-- even if they feel fine and show no obvious symptoms.
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>> i'm not only calling on you to heed what's in the guidan, but to really ensure that each and every one of you areh protecting eher. and so, we cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout thtry, for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus. >> brangham: ptosident trump y also announced that the or foreclosures until april.s nud, on the other end of pennsylvania ave the united states senate approved a $100 billion coronavirus response bill. the bill, negotiated between treasury secrehiry steven mnand house speaker nancy pelosi, contains emergency funds and free testing. for workers it is congress' latest legislative step, as it also considers ways to ovide relief for small businesses and for workers, and stabilize the roller coaster financial markets.
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>> the men and women who pour neeir entire lives into small businesses do no even more obstacles. they need help. they need a lifeline. they need to know that congress understands the historic obstacles they're facing, and that we have their back as well. leader chuck schumd thisminority pandemic demands an even greater response. >> democrats a proposing a marshall plan for our public health infrastructure. the sooner we act on it, the better.ra >>ham: meanwhile, president trump and canadian prime minister justin trudeau wnounced today that the u.s./canada bordl be closed to non-essential travel. trudeau spoke from his home in ottawa. >> these measures will last in place as long we feel they need to last.m: >> brangresident trump said today the u.s. is not moving to close down the border with mexico. and across the unitees today, daily lives remn
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stalled. the are now confirmed infections in all 50 states. the normally busy fisherman's after local officials ordered, roughly eight million californianso shelter in place. here, a shopping mall in suburban virginia, closed, indefinitely. domestic air travel is collapsing, too. this is a terminal at salt lake city's airport two weeks ago. here it is on monday. and the same with american car manufacturing: ford, g.m. and fiat chrysler are l suspending production at u.s. plants until march 30. in las vegas, americling mecca has gone quiet, after the state took the unprecedented move last night of closing ssinesses, including hotels and casinos in ttate, for 30 days. governor steve sisolak: >> this is only common sense. at a time when people are getting sick from simply being i near othernot the time for gyms to remain open. this is not the time for casin to remain open.
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>> brangham: and countries across the world are takingmi r measures-- shutting down public spaces to limit the in antwerp, empty train stations and streets, as belgium's prime minister today joined many ofea his europeanrs and implemented a nation-wide >> (dtranslated citizens are required to stay at home in order to avoid maximum contact outside their immediatly, except to go to work, essential travel, going to the doctor, the grocery store, the post office, the bank, the pharma get fuel or help people in need. >> brangham:ut traffic jams stretched for miles across other parts of europe today,ge including than-polish border, after the european union yesterday announced it is closing their external borders to non-e.u. citizens. and, in hard-hit italynearly 30,000 people have now tested positive and over 2,500 people have died. for the pbs newshour, i'm
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william brangham. >> woodruff: and we turn again to our lisa desjardins and yamiche alcindor. yamiche, to you, first, the president, today, invoked the defense production act, he alo enacted border restrictions. what do we know about how these measures are going to be used to fight this virus?he >> reporter: president today says he sees himself as a that in mind, he said he was taking several emergency steps needed to stem the fw and the outbreak of the coronavirus. so he said he was going to be signing t defense puction act. this act would allow the federa government trect american manufacturers to produce items needed to fight the virus including masks or gloves or gowns. the president said he signed that just in case he had toke init. in worst case scenario, only a few minutes ago, he tweed that. it isn't as if this is happening right now. what is happening now is the
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travel restrictions for the northern and southern borders, the borders of canada and mexico. here's a bit of what the president is going to be doingan is doing. just to put up there, the president is going to be mforcing the immediate oval of anyone crossing the borders that are undocumented. people are going to be taken to cilities or courts. there's going to be no due process, people are just going to e immediately removed. the people who are exempt are americans, canadians and people with documents, greends car work permits, will be allowed to come in last. the president made it ar today he doesn't want this and canad the trade with mexico but people are pushing back, saying this sun lawful. but the president and the trump administration say they're happg and willing to this in court if needed because they say this is a public health need ane that borders need to be shut just described.to the people i >> woodruff: yamiche, today as the briefing at the white house, you asked the president how the
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white house is characterizing this virus and how long going to last. tell us about that exchange and what he said. >> reporter: well, the president has been getting pushback for using the term "chinese virus," and thrses also a whe house official reo rred to the coronavirus as kung flu. i questioned the president as to whether he thought the terms g.were wron here's what he said. a person at the white house used the term kung flu. do you think using the term chinese virus that t asian-americans at risk -- >> no, no, no. i think they probably would agree with it 100%. it comes from chi. there's nothing that -- >> reporter: now, the president said that he wants tou continue t the word and term chinese virus because he thinks, s, this virus started in china and china was trying to blame u.s. and service members
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for starting the virus in china. the other questto the president is whether the coronavirus might last as long as 18 monhs in the united states. the president said that's not correct, he doesn't think it's going to las that log. but treasury secretary steve mnuchin said the une rate could go up to 20%. that, of course, would be a big, big number, and peopry are , very worried about that, but the president saying the fedal government doing all it can so those things will not happen. >> woodruff: interesting. molisa, to you, things areing really fast at the capitol in help people, to help businesses. tell us where everything stands right now. >> reporter: judy, i think, overall, the capitol is a place that is trying to she up a dam that is cracking in the middle of an earthquake. t they aing to deal with now layoffs due to the economy at the same time as they knowbl future ps are going to be worse, and they're not sure what tools exactly can fix these problems. so let's go over exactly where we are. first of all, today, as william
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reported, the senatepassed the families first act that goes to the president now, a reminder, again, that helps deal with sick time for peoplwho have the virus or are quarantined and family leave for those carilg for en at home as well as testing and some food aid. now, what's next is that $1 trillion stimulus plan, it could be more tha$1 trillion, judy, and today, as republicans gather to try to figure out their plan, outside came a new idea from nators lindsey graham and mitt romney. they would like to focus on unemployment insurance to the tune, judy, os f perh75% of people's salaries up to $8,000. that's just one idea, but it looks like that idea, lookiou for those who lose their jobs is emerging as a top fact in any of texhet plans. >> woodruff: so on the parof that that addresses small businesses, what do you see emerging there? >> this seems to be the most clear consensus point in all of the parties is that small businesses who may already be
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worried about going out of business this week need more help. there is a plan emerging from senators rubio and collins in the republican party that would actually -- they give federal loans to small businesses to helphem continue terate so long as those businesses use that money for payroll and operations, judy, this plan essentially making this a grant, to perhaps thousan small businesses around the country, the cost of that $300 billion. but there is clear concern for small businesses more than anyct other of the economy right now here in the u.s. capitol. >> woodruff: so intewaesting. so i to ask you both quickly because you have both been reporting on this, and that is bernie sanders, obviously, he came in behind in these latest primaries that took place yesterday. both you have have been in touch with his campaign. yamiche, what are you hearing about what his next plans are? >> well, the bernie sanders
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campaign and the senator himself have beepushing back on the idea that he is ending his campaign anytime soon. they said any orts of that are false. i have been talking to sources close to bernie sanders that say at heecognizes his path is nearly impossible to winning the nomination, but that he wants to look at how he could possibly pushoe biden further to the progressive ideals.mo but today thsenator was ry angry i i've seen him in years. he said an explicative to art re who asked whether or not he would be ending his campaign some time soon. >> woodruff: lisa. >> reporter: i was there. th part of a conversation i was having wh senator sanders. i asked senator sanders for comments on the race. he said comment. i moved on to ask aboutth pandemic. he had a lengthy conversation with he, i think the longest spoke with a reporter in a few days, about his concerns of the pandemic. that's a tough prifor him. other reporters joined in, asked him about the race repeatedly,
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and that was when he had the pushback. he turned to them and say, why are you asking me this? we are in the middle of a -- and he used a strong word -- crisis. he obviously is very focused on the crisis. i asked him abo ut theection and the crisis and that clearly is on his mind, too. he has a lot of coerns about how the whreks goes forward. he himself uncle ear, but factoring the pandemic into all his thoughts. that much we can se >> woodruff: the only thing better than having one of you s reporting on bernie sands having both of you reporting on him. thank you, lisa, and thank you, yamiche. we appreciate it. >> woodruff: economic damage from this virus keeps piling up, amid talk of sweeping financial aid. the dow jones industrial average as we repoed crashed again today, losing more than 1,300 points to close below 19,900.
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the nasdaq fell 345 points, and the s&p 500 gave up 131. for insit into all of this, i'm joined again by david wessel, director of the hutcns center on fiscal and monetary policy at the brookings institutio david, welcome back to the program.at so it seems no matter what congress does -- and we've heard from lisa rerting on that -- the markets, the investors just n't seem to be reassured. is that what's going on? >> right. i think that what we're seeing is the markets and investors are, a, they're realizing there's a lot of uncertainty. secondly, they're extremely risk averse. no one wants to hny risky assets. and they're thinking this might go on for a while and it miht do some long-lasting harm to the economy. it seems like an overreaction, but without any clear idea if this is going to be two quters, three quarters or four quarters, i think people are really just panicking. >> woodruff: and you were
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sharing you've seen forecasts that came out day that ntribute to the panic. absolutely. jp morgan, big bank on wall street, their economists said we'll see decline in the quarter of 19 pfers. we haven't had o tht bad since 1947. they expect to bounce back inth thd quarter. we hope they're right. but we don't know how long this will go on. w >> woodruff: have a sense of which sectors will be the hardest hit? i'm asking becauseg we're hear small businesses, big businesses laying off, shuttingown, at least for the time being. >> well, when you basically tell everybody to stay home, it'not hard to imagine which businesses suffer first -- hotels, tourism, airlines and stuff le that -- but i think that it's going to be widespread, a one of the problems that the government's going to have is every business is oing to be able toy, we're hurting, and it's not our fault, so theye're going to hav
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to make some tough decisions about who to help, who not toho helpto get paid back, who gets a grant, who gets a loan. >> woodruff: so what does it take at a time like this,and i realize what you're saying is this, what does ie, though,ike at a time like this to give people some sense reassurance, too know there is a bottom here? e well, i think one of challenges of this event is that, by flattening the cue, by spread ought the virus, we're doing, on purpose, damage to the economy, and that's goio be very upsetting to people. i think people want leadership, they want confidence if they can getick, they can be treated, and they wanted to be able to pay thrent or the light bill and stuff like that, and that's why there's a lot of talk about providing cash to households, giving money to people who may be furloughed, strengthening the safety net in order to make suret that the st vulnerable among us don't really get hit hard. >> woodruff: how much does it help?
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-- i think this is part ofyours clarity in the measures government is taking. >> i think it will lp a lot o get clarity. it's been very confusingthsome of advice from the white house podium has been confusion, all the back and forth between e house and the senate, so i think as soon as we get a clear idea of what's going to be in this big bill, this trillion-dollar stimulus, people will sai see what does this mean to me. but the second point is they build into theill a trigger that if this is prolonged the aid will be extended. one of the this we arned during the great recession is if you're not pessimistic stuff and the stimulus stops, then the economy takes a hit. so we want this one to be automatic. if unemployment rises and stays high, we might have more checks to people or more loans to businesses. >> woodruff: but is it possible, finally, david, to be able to say how mucit's going t take to reassure folks?
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>> i don't think possible. i can't tell you how long this is going to go on, how long they'll have to be working at home, and that's true forev ybody. so i think that the government needs to do things now both to alleviate the pain and to put some money in the system to recede, as it is apparentlys doing in china, the economy can get restarted again. tabut, you know, uncty is really hard for people the adjust to, and whe tn peopl you all this is going to be over by the summer, i think we've all learned those people don't know what they're talkinut abo south not very comforting. >> woodruff:io.3 tri and i hear you saying it could be bigger. >> absolutely. >> reporter: david wessel, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: a new analysis by
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researchers at harvard university shows that the bed capacity of hospitals in many parts of the u.s. will be overwhelmed if the covid-19 coronavirus continues to spread across theountry. and, as amna nawaz reports, hospitals and health care systems are working to increase their readiness. >> nawaz: judy, the harvard study indicates that even in a best-case scenario, with casesir of cus spread out over 18 months, american hospital b beds wouabout 95% full, unless they free up already- occupied beds. if the pace of infection, or their numb accelerate, the shortfalls become more dire. for what hospitals are doing to prepare themselves, and what mo needs to be done, i am joined by two people who focus closely preparedness. jeremy konyndyk is a senior policy fellow at the center for global development, whose research focusesakn global outbreparedness, among other things. he joins us by skype.
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and in the studio dr. bruc siegel is president and c.e.o. america's essential hospitals, an association of more than 300 hospitals and healthcare systems. welcome to you both. dr. siegel, i want to start with you eere. we know will be a surge of patients, we know that's coming. you told my colleague earlier, our hospitals are moving quickly fo preparthat. what specifically are they doing right now and are you confident they will be ready? >> so the good news is that millions of health professionala in our hos are working hard to prepare. they are clearing out some ofc the etive surgery cases, things that updon't have to be done right now, to get that space ready for a surge in patients. they are expanding their capacity, you know, bringing beds and floors back into use that were maybe not used, building tents for triage centers and testing in their parking lotsto eep sick patients away from the rest of the patient population. there's a lot going oho >> reporter:w confident are you they will be ready to meet
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the snkge? >> i tthey'll do a good job to meet the surge. if we as citizens make sure surge is as small as possible by distancing ourselves like we're doing now, that will help out. my concern is will they have the resources for a sustained response and that's something congress will have to think hard about and act on in the days ahead. >> reporter: some people wimal look at thon this, and it's very alarming when you see how much of the country and how tamany of our hos could become overwhelmed. those darker red portions, by the way, represent over 1,000 percent capacity for some of tse hospitals and that's in a moderate scenario. vell me how you're looking at this, do you belhe healthcare system and hospitals can get to the days they need to handle even a moderate surge? >> i bieve it's going to be an enormous strugened and complicated by the fact we've already lost a lot of time. we should have begun the process in mid january, soon as we
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saw what was happening in wuhan china,ithere hos were overwhelmed very rapidly by this vie s. weing to face struggles with e.p.e., with healthcare workers ming infected. we have lost a lot of time i think there are measures that wo can begitake, some of the things that the president said today are positive. it would have been better if theyonwere announce addth ago so we're catch-up mode still.dr >> wf: >> reporter: what did you hear that was positive? the moving of the hospitalt, shifts, all help to somewhat relieve the pressure, bu it also will take a while. we learned after the announcement that one of theho ital ships won't be ready to leave port for a few weeks. if you start professorring not going to show up in thehat's supply chain for weeks or months. >> reporter:dr. siegel, the ppe, the personal protective equipment, that is what your
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front line healthcare workers need to mandel the patience. >> absolutely. >> reporter: are you close to tting what you need? >> we are not close to having what we need. we are seeing spot shortages in lot worse as this materializes. we are very dependent on thefe ral government for making this happen. i am glad there are things happening now t start to manufacturing up and to start to devote resources tohis sectors but my biggest concern is have stressed roberts in this country, streited rural hos with maybe a week of cash on hand. as they lose their paying business, as they see a spike in uninsured patients coming in, as they have to span millions and llions on treating sick coronavirus patients, they're going to run out of resources,th literally could run out of money, and we're going to need congress to make sure that we have that backstop to be there for these communities, given ow sobering it's going to be. >> reporter: the other thing people hear about ared ventilators e need for
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critical care in severe cases. do you have the vetilators you need? are you confident you will get the supply you nee >> we are working as hard as we can to make it happen. we need the government to step in. need?e sure we'll have what we no, let's be clear about that. inm glad they are preparing and moving all the t we need to in place like the hospital ships, will take loger tha expected, but we still have a long ways to go, and the decisions we make in the next few days around resources, around the stmulus bill are going to be absolutely critical, so we can really do this foe long haul, because this may go on longer than some of s wold ever ever like. > jeremy, you mentioned the defense productict the president put in place today, to what degree do you think that willgaill this p? dr. siegel is saying we know we have rig now. what other levers of the federal government could we be pulling and using now if neede yeah, i think the defense production act will basically force companies to manufacture
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certain things. i think the companies will be probably inclined to manufacture those things anyway to keep the factories running and if there's money behind it. so i thinketh apf hel tool though not a total game changer. one of the things i hear about from the doctors i talk to in new york city and northern california is lack of testing. they are still struggling to gey the testing need both for patients and themselves. if they are exposedth quite important they be able to get a test quickly to determine who they are infected or t because, if they're infected, they have to go into quarantine. if not, they can stay at work. if not, you have to take precaution and lose the workforce. >> reporter: when you see the president speaking you see a number of different officials from different agencies working togethnd behind him. are you can have debt that every single resource at the government's disposal is being used or are there other sttheps could be taking right now? >> i'm not confident, and i think that that -- i think they have made some headway, but need to be.ll not where they
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you know, we were in a sort of enactive mode for about the first month and a half of this where we were not really moving out in an expeditious way on preparing the homeland for the i think we've now mov moved into reactive mode but sll not in proactive mode, yes, they're getting things in motion but still playing catch-up. >> reporter: dr. iegel, whe e the projections, there's a lot we don't know -- we don't know how long it will take, when the surges will happen, when the viruses will pk. how do hospitals prepare for this? do they go for the worst-case scenario or hope for a mild outbreak? >> you have to think about thrse case scenario, so our hospitals are really thinking about how d could this get? realizing it may b may get bettn one community now and worse in other communities later. so they have t f prepareor their worse or 'do their best to
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get to that point. we can't be optimistic, or hope is not a policy here. i am confident they are -- our hospital leaders, nurses and doctors -- preparing for, you know, how bad this could be, even though we hope to avoid it by doing the things we're trying to do now. >> reporter: we hope the plans come together. dr. bruce siegel and jeremy >> woodruff: and please join us tomorrow, when we are hosting a virtual town hall, "confronting coronavirus," at 8:00 p.m. eastern/7:00 central on alpbs stations and streaming in the pbs app, and on the pbs newshour social channels, including youtube, facebook and twitter. please watch to hear some of your questions answered by people who are on the front nes of the crisis. >> woodruff: in the day's other
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news, alabama has postponed a republican primary run-off for a u.s. senate seat because o the coronavirus. the race pits form. to july 14. attorney general jeff sessions against tommy tuberville, a former auburn university football coach. the winner faces democratic senator doug jones, the incumbent, in november. a diplomatic feud between china and the s. escalated today. beijing defended its expsion of 13 journalists with the anew york times," the "washington postthe "wall street journal." it cited tighter controls on chinese state-run media organizations, in the u.s. but, president trump denounced the chinese response. >> i'm not happy to see it. i don't-- i have my own disputes with all three of those media groups. i think you know that very well. but i don't likeeeing that at all, i am not happy about that at all.
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meanwhile, u.s. officials accused china today of hiding informatioon the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. back in this country, an earthquake rocked several million people around salt lake city, utah this morning. there were no major injuries, but the tremor and aftershocks damaged some buildings and knocked out power to thousands. the city's airport also shut down for a time. and, the famed alaskan sled dog race, the iditarod, finished thomas waerner of norway crossed ate finish line in nome just after midnight, g his closest competitor by five hours. small crowds turned out, despite ronavirus concerns. congratulations to him. r:ill to come on the newsh on the ground in iran, where state officials warn that millions of people couie in the pandemic. plus, celebrated celli yo-yo ma on songs of comfort in a time of crisis.
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>> woodruff: one of the countries hardest-hit by covid-19 is iran. thousands there have the virus, and the death toll is skyrocketing. amid preparations for a subdued iranian new year, the conflict with the united states is now never far from mind there. as special correspondent reza sayah reports from tehran, corona and that confrontation make for a volatile mix. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: once a year... ♪ ♪ ...in the stres of tehran... ♪ ♪ ...haji firouz welcomes the first day of spring and nowruz, the new year. ♪ ♪ like santa claus, this fictional character's job is to spread s liday joy. but this year, ht seeing many smiles.
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>> ( translated ): it's the rst new year ever. i've played haji firooz for 20 years. to find in iran these the coronavirus outbreak is exploding. the daily death toll is hitting triple digits. more than 17,000 iranians have tested positive. hello, mr. sadeghi. mahmoud sadeghi is among more than three dozen public officials who caught the virus. the lawmaker recovered last week. he spoke to us by video chat. >> ( translated ): i had totally surrendered to my destiny. i even started writing my will. i almost finished. >> repter: sadeghi says he's heeding the government's call to stay home. many iranians are doing the same. tehran's streets, usually bustling with new year traffic, are nearly empty.he withoronavirus, a lot has changed. but here's what hasn't cnged. at a time when the u.n. is to fight the coronavirus, tehran and washington are still in conflict, still damning one
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another, and some say, edging closer to war. last wednesday marked the birthday of qassem soleimani, the iranian general assassinated in january in a u.s. drone strike. on soleimani's birthday, a rocket attack hit a military base in iraq, killing two american soldiers. one day later, the pentagon gunched airstrikes target iranian-backed shia militias, saying they were responsible. >> reporter: tehran-based. political coentar mohammad hashemi says at a time when both countries should be cusing on containing a pandemic, war seems closer than ever. >> this was the worst time for such things happen because everybody fear of another war in the region. and then in the middle of the t crist iran is engaged in is trying to deal with this coronavirus outbreak. >> reporter: tehran and washington are feuding over the coronavirus, too. yesterday, u.s. secretary of
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state mike pompeo accused iran of covering up the outbreak. >> reporter: last week, the "washingtopost" cited satellite images to report authorities in iran raced to dig trenches at a cemetery in the hide the death toll.ffort to ite site was so vast, the "post" said, as visible from space. other news organizations picked up the story, some calling the site a "mass grave." >> well, i was shocked. and terrified. >> reporter: habib abdolhossein is a reporter at press tv, iran's state-funded english language news network. he says the site was no secret, and was prepared to accommodate the islamic custom of burying >> satellite images cannot prove that a mass grave orist somewherot. >> reporter: do you understand that some of theritics of the
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islamic republic of iran say that press tv is the ste's news network and they don't cover it objectively? >> of course. >> reporter: you d >> of course, yes, of course. i cannot deny that there has been mismanagement definitely mismanagement but this isap something thatns, either in iran or in italy.e theyst trying to blame iran and pile up pressure on iran. >> reporter: this report, written by a local reporter in qom three weeks prior to t "washington post" report, announced preparation of roughly 100 graves at the same cemetery for victims of the virus, suggesting the site was not a secret. numerous pictures posted onso al media and the cemetery website also show the site was prepared just as other graves i are preparediran at a perhaps no voice in iran is more objective when it comes to theru coronavithan the world health organization.ep
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they neither rsent the iranian government nor u.s. interests. they're working to contain the virus, and they grted us an interview. sign says "no entry without weging masks" so we're putt on our masks. there ha been critics of the iranian government who say they haven't done enough. they reacted too slow. what is your response to those allegations? >> you know, two weeks ago, the response was a bit more difficult, because there were only two or three countrie which had self-sustained epidemics. so there was a lot of focus on what they do different or maybe wrong. that kind of debate has vanished to a large degree. >> reporter: are you satisfied with the response here? >> i am very satisfied with the response, in terms of planni.
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( fireworks ) >> reporter: here, on the eve of every last wednesday before then new year, ns hold a festival of fire. they cast aside bad luck and look forwa to happiedays. with the coronavirus, many celebrated from inside their homes.r for them, happys will come if tehran and washington can ever set aside theiren diffs... anslated ): this is n injected into our ycs to challenges. >> reporter: ...and share in the fight against a growing pandemic. for the pbs newshour, i'm re sayah in tehran. >> woodruff: as congress weighs relief packages meant to blunt covid-19's impact on the u.s. dealing with new ps thealso virus is creating in their home
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stes. senator bill cassidy, a republican from louisiana, is one of them. his state has at least 240 confirmed cases of the coronarus, and so far, seven people have died. he is also one of three medical doctors currently serving in the senate, and he joins us now from capitol hill. senator cassidy, thank you so much for being with us. so the legislation the senate passed tay providing free testing, paid sick leave, help for some of the poorest americans, how much do you think this is going to alleviate thema hi americans are going to be taking now? >> i'm not sure.g thl is to alleviate it as much as possle, but this is only the second of at least three packages. w there's something thcan do that has not been done in the first two packages, we shall do it. i mean, the american people need to know that congress is there with theand, as much as we can, we're going to get our nation through this rough patch. >> woodruff: wele know there's a second package being
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worked on,3 $1.illion, that would include direct cash payments, among other ings. how cofident do you think americans can be that these pieces of legislation are h goig p people who are most in need? >> they're going to pass, and if you're speaking about a direct payment, when i speak to a family, they're concerned about their mortgage, car note, how arbuthey going to groceries, particularly an issue for lower income who don't have savings, that's who's going to be targeting, mnuchin said we could have it out by the first week in april. mortgage payments are oftentimes due first week in april, so we'll hopefully get help there. e 're also helping businesses that employ peorough a rough patch. if you come back and don't have so we'll try to help the small business so she can stay in business and keep her employees as employees. so on all levels, we're trying to address this. >> woodruff: the american people are so used to looking an
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washinlooking at dysfunction, frankly, looking at fighting with each other rather than working together. what are we going to see right now? is this going to be an example ofhe two partiesctually working together for a change? >> we are in this tog let me speak another divide. sometimes there's a divide between what people who are not in washington think and what people in washington think. i can tell you now, speaking as a doctor, if somebody at h decides to self-quarantine, not, they don't expose six other people potentially to coronavirus, they' more impact on stopping the spread of the disease than all the doctors and nurses in your community because we don't have an effective treatment so the best way to treat is not get infected. so not only unity been republicans and democrats but people in washington and those at home who sent us to washington. we have to have common cause if we defeat the disease.
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>> woodruff: start senator cassidy, as aphysician, you obviously know about what's going on here. lies ahead and do you think the american people now have the full picture of what's comste . >> i think the american people are grasping it, and it seems a little surreal, t it is coming home when you see that my state confirmed cases and seven deaths. now we have 257.e had one cas it is is spreading. so i think that's coming home. i'm very worried. this has the potential to follow the track of what is happening in italy, where there is a rapid increase in the number of cases and the hospital system becomes elerwhelmed. i'm working clwith the white house, my governor, all levels of government to see what we can do to expand capacity but, ultimately, judy, ibof so doesn't go out and does not affect another, that hastr
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endous impact on whether that other person will live. flatten the curve, if you wi. >> woodruff: let me ask you about public health facilitiesab thity of the healthcare facilities in your state of louisiana to handle what's ming in terms of hospital beds, in terms of venevlators, wh else is going to be needed. is there the capacity now to deal with what's coming in louisiana? if it happens as it happened in italy,g obody is goo have the capacity. where you ust had an exponential rise in the number of cases. if we're able to flatten the curve and people accept sruption in their livr the next few weeks or maybe a month or so, then can flatten the curve and will have capability. so i think it really deponends hat we do as a nation. if we stay at home, care for other people, if have symptoms or not, just stay at home, don't expose others, we will have capacity.n if, we'll be overwhelmed.w >> woodruff:saw today,
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senator, the president issuing an executive order having to do with prioritizing, allocating health and medical resources.c how of a difference is that going to mak >> it's going to make a huge difference. now i'm continuing to hear folks back home nnot get viral transport medium to take the swab someone's taken for the virus to actually get tesed. masks are in short supply, personal protectiveequipment, could go down the list, but we need those things and need them. rapi ventilators are being purchased, but i'm sure there's going to be a back order for that sooner or later. go down the list of what's >> woodruff: and when it comes to prioritizing, how do you look healthcare profession?facin >> we have to get more testing, p have to protect medical providers, medicviders are a limited capacity. we can't open up an old hospital and create more beds if you don't have the nurses and doctors and techs and everyone else itakes to run those. so we have to protect our
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it's so gratifying, my colleagues are front line, theyt o be front line, but we've got to keep them healthy because care of patientshey can't take >> woodruff: finally, senator, president trump called this thes chinese vir you're not using that term. why not? >> this is something whch happens regularly where a virus moves from one animal into human beings. the chinese physicians have been information with the rest of the on, i was reading severalu got new england journal of medicine articles published by chinese about whether this meical therapy works, what's the impact on children, i could go on. phspeaking as aysician, the international collegiality amono healthcareers has been fantastic and just as we need washington to work well with thp parties and wiple who are not in washington, our medical community has to workwell internationally because this is an international issue. we are truly in it together. >> woodruff: senator bill
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cassidy of louisiana, we thank you very much. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: at a time of national and indeed global trauma, a leading artist offers songs of comfort. jeffrey brown has that, for our ongoing arts and culture series, "canva" >> brown: he is one of the arld's most renowned and beloved musician now he is reaching out in a new way in this current crisis. cellist yo-yo ma recently began posting videos of himself performing short pieces andng that can speak to those most in need-- and to all of us. yo-yo ma joins me from his home in massachusetts by skype. yo-yo, it's nice to talk to you here. you are stuck at home like most of us, but yo're still playing. tell us about this idea that you have, the project calledsongs of comfort."
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>> well, this idea came by pretty much spontaneously. i was in the office onean day, d we were talking and said, you know, let's do something becausn this time thaty actua serves people's needs, and we thought, th somehow, music always had been comforting to me, this isd what i do, his is the best that i can offer, and i knowar many peopl doing everything they can from what they know,ju and this it something that i can do. >> reporter: this is what you do. i mean, what's your sense of what musical art can do? we talk about this all the time -- people have real needs. we've just had a whole program talking about hospitals and medical needs and food and money, of course. what can music and art do? >> well, i can tell you one d ang, when i was 19, i ha teacher who said, yo-yo, you
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haven't found your voice. i said, okay. and, so, i kept looking for my voice. and i think my voice is in finding the needs of others and then representing them. and that's -- and, so, everywhere i go, it's always about finding what people are thinking, feeng, how th think about themselves in the i rld, and ican find something that they need, and if i can acually offer ittle bit of something that isng comforthen that's how i would define my job. >> woodruff: >> reporter: so here you are now playing and posting pieces, 's more than that, right? you want others to join in, to send in their own songs, or doesn't even have to be ic. tell us abwhat you're hoping wwill happen. l, you know, what's amazing, what's already happened
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is since just a couple of days ago, there are people who have posted from the mayo clinic. two doctors have actually sung something. the lead singer from a rock bad in lebanon actually put in a congress song, and two women from ireland and germany sang something in sync, "in troubled times." so the idea is music is for everyone. it's not tdohe practitionerng music, but it's something that does something for us. now, a virus is something that. travels global it knows know borders, no wallso noundaries. music is something that actually looks into is it inside, and that also knows know boundaries. and if we can actuallexpress what is on our insides and showi that, thenis the beginning of a deetaper undersing of one
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another. >> reporter: we want to join you, your organization.t wee "newshour" want to join and encourage people to send in their own videos to #songs of comfort, post hem on twitter, instagram, facebk, wherever, and then what are we collecting? what areou hoping that we t? >> we're collecting what ispe onal, what is true, what is trustworthy, what is -- what is community because community is nothing except what is based on trust. and when you say something in music, it better be true because, otherwise, it don't communicate. >> reporter: all right, so we're going to do this together, and i want to tell our audience, please post some videos, and we
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here at the "newshour", we're going to update this project aws can on digital and broadcast canvas for our arts agcovas well, joining yo-yo ma on this. i want to say thank you to you for doing this. a pleasure to be part of it with you. we go, yo-yo ma plays for us. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> reporter: #songs o comfort. yo-yo ma, thank you very much. >> thank you so much, jeffery. >> woodruff: thank you, yo-yo ma. i can't imagine anything more welcomed at a time like this,
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and as jeff pointed out, we hope ifshou have art toe you will join us. upload your videos to twitter, instagram or facebook using the hashtag "songs of comfort." we'll be watching, and may usen theme future on air and online, at wwwbs.org/newshour. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm ju woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us the nds newshour, thank you, stay safee'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> before we talk abt your investments-- what's new? >> well, audrey's expecting...ns >> t >> we'd be closer to the twins. change in plans. >> at fidelity, changing plans is always part of the plan. >> consumer cellular offers no-contract wireless plans that are designed to help you do more of the things you enjoy. whether you're a talker, texter, browser, photographer, or a bit of everything, our u.s.-based customer service team is here to
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find a plan that fits you. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> american cruise lin >> bnsf railway. >> the ford foundation. working wi frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing ipport of thetitutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers le you. thank you. captioning spowsored by ur productions, llc
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hello, everyone, andan welce to "ur co." here's what's coming up. sure i will tonig asking ht, i'm myself, are we doing enough? >> an unprecedented coronavirus shutdown turns new york's tri-state area io a ghost town i ask new jersey governor phil murphy how to protect lives and livelihood. on t front lines of the nomy we hear from the president of the minneapolis fed. and -- going the distance a while keepi distance. le psychologist dr. lori on how we can still stay connected. plus from comedy legend mel brooks and his son, a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down.

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